Why Eddie Bravo names everything

Monday, March 04, 2013

Eddie Bravo, on a BJJ seminar tour of the UK, speaks exclusively to Fighters Only. The piece cuts between seminar footage and Bravo taking questions.

On Matt Riddle’s release, Bravo was understandably against it.

“Matthew Riddle is a great fighter,” said Bravo. “To cut him for taking medicine – medicine that kills no one, medicine that shrinks brain tumors – he got cut for that. That’s a shame.”

Then the subject turned to Bravo’s convention of naming every technique and transition. Bravo, the most innovative figure in Jiu-Jitsu, frequently receives criticism for his convention of naming every move he teaches, in a sport where the tradition from Brazil is to call most techniques either “this one” or “that one.”

***As an aside, saying “this one” or “that one” with a Brazilian accent makes it funnier.***

Some, like the Ruber Guard and the Lockdown have come into very wide usage. Others, like the Gangsta Lean and Crack Head control have been subject to largely good-natured criticism.

But Bravo is not kidding with his naming.

“Royce Gracie has even said this,” explained Bravo. “His father, Helio, the grandmaster of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, purposefully didn’t name every move, and purposefully didn’t name every transition. Royce will tell you that.”

“To not name every move and not name every transition makes it harder to teach. In America, we name everything, to make it easier to convey the knowledge, to share the knowledge, to pass it on.
That’s the only reason I named every transition, every more.”

“There’s still some moves I need names for. Like I said the sport is still constantly changing and evolving. To maximize my teaching ability, I’ve got to name everything.

“The names are cool – sometimes they’re stupid, sometimes they’re goofy, sometimes they’re funny, sometimes they’re amazing. But regardless, it is all about making it easier to share the knowledge, and to pass it on. That’s it.

“90% of transitions are not named, and that’s just ridiculous. In a secret society where you don’t want the information passed on, maybe in that situation it’s a bad thing to name everything. But I am all about sharing and teaching everything, so you got to name everything.

“Every name has a different story. Some are stupid, but in the long run, it doesn’t matter what the name is.

“Just like in Rock n Roll, it doesn’t matter what the name of the band is, it really doesn’t. If the music is good, it doesn’t matter. There’s bands out there called Hootie and the Blowfish, Smashing Pumpkins, those are some dumb-ass names. But once a band is established, it’s not dumb any more, it’s classic.

“Same thing with Jiu-Jitsu – Omoplata, the traditional Brazilian name – that sounds stupid. And so does Gogoplata. That’s ridiculous! But, after you get used to it, it’s just the norm. And it’s not stupid any more, and it’s not ridiculous…”

So what do you think UG?